12 Custom Prints Business Success Stories [2023]

Updated: November 19th, 2023
Start A Custom Prints Business

Custom print businesses often focus on printing everything, including business cards, photos, and even custom T-shirts.

To start an online custom prints business, choose a niche to help your business stand out and attract the right target audience. Then, focus on producing quality prints of different sizes, materials, and designs. You may hire designers online or search for designs in online design communities. Then, validate the designs before you begin mass production. Finally, set up an online store, and launch the business.

Remember that with the growth in popularity of selling custom prints, expect to face stiff competition. Therefore, you should market your custom prints on social media to maximize your reach.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a custom prints business:

1. Framed Tweets ($114K/year)

Zach was avoiding a New Year's party his parents were hosting downstairs and scrolled through Twitter - suddenly he thought "what if you could frame a tweet?" That night, he built a simple website & tweeted a link to some random people he found on Twitter, and the next morning woke up to find Framed Tweets featured on Product Hunt, Mashable, Uncrate, and a few other websites.

How much they make: $114K/year
How much did it cost to start: $999
Current team size: 0

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How I Stumbled Into A $300K Business Framing Tweets

In this case study Zach shares:

  • Start: Sold the first copies on a sidewalk
  • Validation: Moved to an online store and grossed $20K in the first year
  • Growth: 90% of sales attributed to Instagram ads

I was 10,000% confident I could make a living selling something myself. Anything was possible if some guy selling Sudoku puzzles on the street could make a living.

2. Underground Printing ($36M/year)

UGP co-founders Rishi Narayan and Ryan Gregg started their business in 2001 as a t-shirt company called A-1 Screenprinting. They focused on providing exceptional customer service to college students and quickly expanded their production capabilities by acquiring another screen printer, which led to a name change to Underground Printing. They opened their first retail storefront in 2008 and have since grown to 35+ locations nationwide, generating over $1 million in revenue in their first year. Their commitment to customer service and investment in manufacturing and technology has propelled their success.

How much they make: $36M/year
Current team size: 250

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How I Started A $3M/Month Custom Printed Apparel Company

National custom printing apparel and promotional products provider, Underground Printing, shares their start-up success story which has led them to be ranked amongst Inc. Magazine’s 5000 fastest-growing companies for three years running, with a customer-centric business model driving strong word-of-mouth promotion.

About
Rishi started Underground Printing almost 23 years ago
Revenue
Rishi grew the business to $3M/month

So... can you actually make money with a custom prints business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. Dexpel ($1.44M/year)

In 2009, Sarim, a programmer and digital marketing expert, started Dexpel with a budget of $2,000 and a small A3 printer, laminator, and cutting system. Frustrated with the limited customization options available when shopping for apparel and merchandise, Sarim researched manufacturing processes and discovered that he could create these items in-house. With the introduction of an online customizer, Dexpel became the first company in Pakistan to offer this feature, leading to rapid growth and expansion into a full-fledged facility with over 30 employees. Their revenue has grown from $2,000 per month to $165,000 per year, but Sarim measures success by the team and product line growth.

How much they make: $1.44M/year
How much did it cost to start: $3K
Current team size: 10

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Reflecting On A Decade Of Running Pakistan's Top Customized Apparel And Merchandise Ecommerce

Dexpel, a Pakistani custom print store, grew from a budget of $2,000 for just a few vinyl customization products to over 200+ unique products and $165,000/year in revenue, by prioritizing online sales and developing in-house technology for order fulfillment.

About
Sarim started Dexpel about 14 years ago
Revenue
Sarim grew the business to $120K/month
Costs
It cost Sarim $3000 to start the business

4. PinAround ($44.4K/year)

Erika Holm, the founder of PinAround, had always dreamed of being a business owner since she was a kid. After years of traveling and working odd jobs, she came up with the idea of producing wall maps with pins. With a clear goal and a determination to learn along the way, she launched the business and saw rapid growth, making $44,000 in 2017 with a 35% increase in every quarter.

How much they make: $44.4K/year
Current team size: 0

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Starting and Growing a Business from Sweden to $3,700/month

PinAround, a Swedish company founded by a 23-year-old entrepreneur, produces wall maps with pins and made $44,000 USD in 2017, with approximate 35% increase in every quarter, using effective marketing strategies such as Instagram, Facebook ads and influencers.

About
Erika started PinAround almost 8 years ago
Revenue
Erika grew the business to $3.7K/month

So... can you actually make money with a custom prints business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

5. Ryteprint ($300K/year)

Olawale Awani, after working in the print industry and facing challenges with long payment terms and price wars, decided to start his own online printing business in Nigeria. By offering upfront payment and focusing on providing excellent customer service, Awani found success and now has an average monthly revenue of $25,000 with a net profit margin of 20%.

How much they make: $300K/year
How much did it cost to start: $400K
Current team size: 9

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How I Started A $25K/Month Online Printing Business In Nigeria

How a Nigerian-based online printing business servicing over 5,000 active customers generates an average $25,000 monthly revenue and a net profit of 20%, with a monthly order fulfillment of approximately 500 and 45% YoY growth.

About
OLAWALE started Ryteprint almost 7 years ago
Revenue
OLAWALE grew the business to $25K/month
Costs
It cost OLAWALE $400000 to start the business

6. Goober Prints ($79.2K/year)

How much they make: $79.2K/year
Current team size:

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$80,000 in Etsy Sales: How to Grow from Here? [Side Hustle Coaching]

This Etsy seller increased sales from $10k to $80k in just one year by selling 4000 customized garments.

About
They started Goober Prints almost 5 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $6.6K/month

So... can you actually make money with a custom prints business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

7. Van Woof ($1.26M/year)

How much they make: $1.26M/year
Current team size:

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$3500 Per Day Selling Custom Prints On Etsy With Luke Emery

How Luke Emery's customizable pet portrait business, Van Woof, went from a two-week challenge to processing $3,500 in orders each day.

About
Luke started Van Woof over 3 years ago
Revenue
Luke grew the business to $105K/month

8. Big Frog Franchise ($492K/year)

How much they make: $492K/year
Current team size: 0

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How to Start a $500K/Year T-Shirt Business

How a first-time entrepreneur turned his nearly $200k investment in a Big Frog franchise into a profitable t-shirt printing business, with first-year earnings of $85,000 and projected earnings of $550,000 this year.

About
They started Big Frog Franchise about 12 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $41K/month

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to find more ideas that make money?

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